SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

November 16, 2012

Make sure your pet has a happy holiday

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Pet insurance is another great peace-of-mind gift for you and your pet. Pet insurance can help pay for treatment if your pet gets sick. Paying a small amount each month could help you pay some big unforeseen bills in the future.

Give your pet some comfort. If your pet has a thin coat of fur, a coat with a thick windbreaker will help keep him warm. Purchase a thick, comfortable dog bed for your dog or a heated bed for your cat.

The latest news from veterinary behavior specialists is that harnesses are a much more humane way to lead your dog or cat on a leash. They will thank you for not tugging on their necks. Also, the majority of behaviorists are recommending that you not use any choke chains to train your dog because they are a negative and painful method of training. Get your pet’s attention by having treats in your pocket and hand. Provide positive reinforcement with your voice and treats every time they come closer to performing the good behavior you desire.

As a present to your whole family and your pet, spring for some behavior training classes. All behavior trainers are not equal. Some specialize in aggressive dogs, others specialize with certain breeds, and there are many training methods. Ask your veterinarian which behavior trainers they recommend. Consider having your child be the trainer and participate in the behavior training lessons. A trained pet becomes a well-adjusted pet and a permanent member of the family. That is the best gift of all for the whole family.

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Dr. Elizabeth Bradt is a 1986 graduate of Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is the owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem (www.creaturehealth.com). She is a member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists. Email your pet questions to docliz@creaturehealth.com. Please title your email “Vet Connection.”

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